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I saw these pretty little sugared sparkling cranberries popping up on Pinterest around the holidays, but didn’t get a chance to try them out until now. But that’s ok since these bright red rubies are perfect for Valentine’s Day! They break up the chocolate overload, and are both sweet and tart, so you can eat them plain as-is or add them to a sweet Valentine’s treat. I have a great idea in mind, so stay tuned for Thursday’s post for a different spin on Valentine’s treat recipe.

These cranberries are simple to make, but in reality, a few of the steps are a bit of a pain. After you soak the cranberries in the simple syrup, you need to dry them out a bit. I don’t have any wire racks with small enough grates so that the cranberries don’t fall through, so I used a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet. At this point, the cranberries are a bit sticky, but you have to make sure they dry out in a single layer without touching them so that they don’t stick. Then, rolling the cranberries in sugar isn’t the easiest, since the sugar doesn’t automatically stick, and sometimes it will clump. You just need to work in small batches, which is time-consuming, but worth it in the end! I ended up using a small bowl with a small amount of sugar (about 1/4 cup) and adding a handful of cranberries at a time. Roll the cranberries around a bit, and then place them on another sheet of parchment to set.

After that, you’re home-free, and can pop these like candy! They are a good sweet and sour treat, and remind me of sour patch kids – but they’re all natural and homemade. I love being able to recreate processed foods at home with my own two hands. It makes me feel accomplished, and I hope you get a chance to try these out and feel great about yourself and your skills, too!

Sugared Sparkling Cranberries

Sugared sparkling cranberries are bright red rubies that are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes, plus 1 hour set time

Total Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes

Yield: 2 cups


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 cup, divided
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. Using a big piece of parchment paper, line a cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. Combine water and sugar in a small pot and heat over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, then turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stovetop.
  3. Add 1/2 the cranberries (1 cup) to the simple syrup and let them sit for 2 minutes. Use a small wire mesh strainer to remove the cranberries from the syrup.
  4. Place cranberries in a single layer on the prepared parchment/cookie sheet.
  5. Add the second half of the cranberries (remaining 1 cup) to the simple syrup and let sit for 2 minutes. Again, strain and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Let cranberries dry for about 1 hour.
  6. Place 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl and add cranberries a handful at a time. Roll in sugar and place on parchment paper to set. Replenish sugar in 1/4 cup increments as needed, until all the cranberries are coated.

Cranberries can be eaten straight or added to your favorite sweet or savory dish. I added them in place of dried cranberries in my Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Chickpea Couscous Salad, and they were divine – so tart, yet sweet and a good balance to the goat cheese.


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